Joe Biden announced late Friday that he will be visiting the United Auto Workers union's picket lines to show support for striker. It will be a first for any president.
Gavin Strassel, the UAW Archivist at Wayne State University in Detroit, said he can’t recall any president ever visiting the picket lines for any UAW strike in the past.
“I’ve been through many photos, and I’ve seen pictures of Lyndon Johnson meeting with [former UAW President Walter] Reuther, or presidents attending Labor Day events with the union," he said. "But I don’t know of any photos of presidents visiting a picket line. And I think I would know if there was one.”
Presidents generally don't want to be seen as taking sides in labor disputes. But Biden has already gone further than most in voicing support for the UAW's bargaining position. On the day the strike started he made brief remarks from the White House voicing echoing some of the union's talking points.
"Auto companies have seen record profits, including the last few years, because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifices of the UAW workers. But those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers," he said.
He said that the automakers “should go further" in their offers to the union.
"Record corporate profits — which they have — should be shared by record contracts for the UAW," he said.